Does this scenario sound familiar? Youre browsing the internet, find something that triggers an “Oh Yea, I want That !” sensation. Before you know it, you are entering your credit card details and pressing the purchase button.
From here on, one or two of three things happen.
- You either lay in bed that night thinking to yourself, why did I buy that thing today? Do I really need it? will I use it?
- You completely forget about your recent purchase until it arrives at your door step. By that time the enthusiasm to own it has worn off and you just store it somewhere out of your way.
- You wait anxiously for it to arrive, then once it does you use it once or twice then get bored of it store it somewhere out of your way.
It’s ok, it happens all the time and no you are not being irresponsible for purchasing the item in question, you have simply acted on your impulses and treated yourself to what you wanted. This is actually a marketing concept at play. You as a consumer have responded to an offer from merchant whose business relies on satisfying your needs and wants.
Now its time to flip this article the other way, you’re no longer the consumer, but rather a seller, from here on we’ll talk about how you as a business owner can implement some simple marketing and advertising techniques that will allow you to capitalize on the same impulse buy psychology to maximise your sales.
I remember back when I was studying my diploma in business, particularly the marketing subjects, the lecturer told us about an example of a cafe owner who has been able to double their coffee sales by simply throwing a hand full of whole coffee beans on the pavement right outside their cafe.
The theory behind this was that doing this every morning would mean that people who walk past the cafe, tread on the beans, crushing them and releasing a rich coffee aroma. That aroma would trigger a sensory craving for a coffee and wow.. would you look at that, I’m right outside of a coffee shop. How convenient !
Marketing and advertising tactics like these have become common across all industries. Professional marketers study the human behaviour and our buying patterns, tailoring our shopping experience to entice us to make that purchase on the spot. This is often done with aromas, color schemes, graphics and images as well as sounds and even tailoring the room temperature to be just right, making us feel comfortable and therefore confident to proceed to the checkout.
So how do we capture the impulse buyer on our website? There are 4 crucial elements that can significantly boost website sales and give the shopper a comforting experience, ultimately converting them from a browser, to a buyer.
- Have a clean easily navigable modern looking online store – this one is a no brainer. If you are using an outdated design on your online shop front, customer will hesitate to spend money with you. If you can’t spend the time to update your store to bring it to standards that are at least on par with your competitors, then you do not deserve the sale, and i can almost guarantee it, you will be missing out on sales. In the same way that customers are impressed with modern physical brick and mortar stores, they prefer a nice clean interface when shopping online. Image is everything and you only have a few seconds from the time your customer sees your website for the first time to forming their opinion of your business. So impress them, make them believe they’ve come to the right place to satisfy their” Wants”
- Be on hand to offer support – This is simply good old fashion service. Being able to answer questions right at the time where your potential client is at their decision making stage is priceless. This is really important particularly if you are in the business of selling big ticket items. Tv’s, Computers, White Goods, Furniture etc. The questions you might be asked to answer may relate to the product itself or simply something about the buying process such as the freight logistics which may include estimated times of arrival. There is a multitude of live chat plugins available for modern ecommerce scripts and you would be surprised how quickly these plugins pay for themselves by increasing your overall sales.
- Know your products – If you know your products well , selling those products becomes very easy. There is nothing worse than walking into a large department store, asking for assistance only to find that the sales assistant knows nothing about the product, or even worse, only knows the obvious features and try to fluff their way through a sales demonstration. The quickest way to lose a potential sale is to lose your customers trust. If a customer senses that you’re not quite sure about the product you’re trying to sell them, they will simply walk away. If you’re providing online support, make sure you surround yourselves with product fact sheets for quick reference.
- Write unique product descriptions – This may be time consuming but the rewards are priceless. Firstly, if you take the time to write a unique, keyword targeted description of your product, it will outrank most, if not all competitors sites that have simply copied the description from the manufacturers website. The other benefit of doing this is that it gives the description a feel that is unique and exclusive to your website. If a potential customer notices that your description is different from the others they have read while looking for the product, they will read it in full out of interest. They feel that they may find an extra snippet of information that will ultimately give them more confidence to commit to the purchase. By having your customer read what you have to say you’re keeping them on your individual web pages for longer (search engines look at that favorably) but most importantly of all you’re letting your customer know that you know your product and know it well enough to write a unique description.
So why did I decide to write this article from an angle which focuses on impulse buying?
You might be surprised that up to 90% of all purchases made online or in physical brick and mortar stores are actually impulse driven. So you see, shopping on impulse is really nothing new or specialised, its actually considered the norm. If you were to collect all your shopping receipts for 12 months, then at the end of the year analyzed and grouped all your purchases into two groups, “Stuff I NEED” and “Stuff I WANT”, you will find that around 90% of the things you have purchase would fit into the “WANT” group. (Which is mainly driven by impulse)
I would like to conclude this short article by trying to get you the readers who are in the business of selling to visualise your customers buying decision process somewhat like a download progress bar. It starts of with nothing, then as you start to win the customer over with all of the above mentioned points, the bar gets fuller. Once it reaches 100%, the customer presses the “Purchase” button at your online store’s checkout page.
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